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Nigeria taking action as piracy and clashes on rise

27 April 2016, 21:05

Abuja - Nigeria needs to step up security to stem a rise in incidents of piracy and communal clashes, as well as the continued threat from Boko Haram insurgents, Defence Minister Mansur Muhammad Dan-Ali said on Tuesday.

The minister, who is also a retired brigadier general, told a government-sponsored seminar that "all security agencies in Nigeria have been called upon to crush and deter the threats”.

A statement reporting his comments said there would be continued support for all agencies, particularly those battling the Boko Haram insurgency in the country's northeast, which has claimed about 20 000 lives since 2009.

Ship hijackings, meanwhile, have become more frequent since President Muhammadu Buhari last year announced he was winding down an amnesty to former militants in the oil-rich Niger delta region.

Dirk Steffen, maritime security director at the Denmark-based Risk Intelligence firm, told AFP on Tuesday that about 40 vessels have been attacked by pirates inside and outside Nigerian territorial waters since the beginning of this year.

Clashes over grazing too have multiplied, with the latest attack on Monday by gunmen believed to be ethnic Fulani killing at least seven people in a farming community in southeast Enugu state, police said on Tuesday.

Local media, however, put the death toll at between 20 and 48 with scores of homes destroyed. Nigeria's police chief Solomon Arase said riot troops have been deployed to the affected Agatu area to restore peace.

In February, hundreds of people were reportedly killed in clashes between mostly Muslim Fulani herders and predominantly Christian farmers in Agatu district of Benue state.



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